A corporal who cooperated with an Army war crimes investigation will face a court-martial today at Joint Base Lewis-McChord over charges that he participated in beating up a fellow soldier and used drugs during his deployment to Afghanistan.
Cpl. Emmitt Quintal, 22, of Weston, Ore., could be discharged from the Army, spend a year in prison and lose two-thirds of his pay if he’s found guilty. He’s also accused of violating a general order by keeping images of Afghan casualties.
He’s one of 12 soldiers in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division who are accused of various crimes they allegedly committed at Forward Operating Base Ramrod. Five are accused of murdering three Afghan civilians between January and May.
Prosecutors last month said in court that negotiations were taking place to give Quintal a plea deal.
Shortly afterward, it was announced that his maximum penalty would be a year in a prison. By contrast, Spc. Corey Moore, who faces similar charges, could go to prison for 11 years.
Sworn statements obtained by The News Tribune show that Quintal was troubled by the alleged wrongdoing in his platoon, including his own misconduct.
He told investigators in May that he had smoked hashish with other soldiers and participated in an assault on Pfc. Justin Stoner after Stoner complained about drug use in their platoon.
Stoner has since testified at hearings for Quintal’s codefendants that Quintal apologized for the beating and appeared to be a reluctant participant. They were housed together in Afghanistan beginning in late May, when the Army separated its cooperative witnesses from the rest of the platoon.
Quintal told investigators that he was aware of suspicious civilian killings, and he said they were orchestrated by Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs. Gibbs 25 is accused of hav ing a hand in all of the three murders in the war-crimes case.
Quintal also said he witnessed a grisly scene unfold a few hours after Stoner’s beating. That’s when Gibbs allegedly returned to the scene, threatened Stoner and rolled three fingers taken from an Afghan corpse in front of the private.
“At that point, I kind of lost my head,” Quintal said in a statement that was recorded by Army investigators and leaked to the media.